A former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Chinonso Obasi, would mediate in the face-off between students and the management of Ebonyi State University over increase in school fees.
According to him, governor Dave Umahi, should wade into the matter to ensure an amicable resolution of the crisis.
Obasi, an indigent of Ebonyi State and Executive Director of African Students Education Support Initiative (ASESI), explained these in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja.
The statement reads, “For the past two weeks, there have been a grave disquiet in the Ebonyi State University (EBSU) following an increment in the tuition fees of the University. Students insist that the economic reality in the country has rendered their parents and guardians incapable of paying the new fee. And the Ebonyi State University management insists that the newly announced fee regime is irreversible.
“To this end, the school Management led by Prof. Chigozie N. Ogbu, rebuffed and rejected every attempt at a reasonable engagement with students. For ASESI, the refusal to engage with students leaders is a covert, not out rightly an overt declaration of undue academic hostility.
“Consequently, we urge His Excellency, Engr Dave NWEZE Umahi FNSE to intervene and avert crisis in the University. Truth is that EBSU Management and Ebonyi State Government which it claims ordered the increment, may have their way. But at least three other negative scenarios are equally possible.
An avoidable crises in which Ebonyi State itself would be the loser.
EBSU Students, a majority of whom have always supported Umahi’s government, are very likely to lose faith in the government.
Subsequent upon the scenario (2) above, government’s long partnership with students community would develop fatal cracks.
“The state government should therefore listen to, and engage with representatives of students. It loses nothing by engaging with its children, citizens and partners. Even if the tuition fee would remain, it has to follow an exhaustive engagement in which all contending issues and variables are adequately considered and fathomed into the issues.
“It is also important that the Governor avoids those who are merchants in the political economy of crises. There are those who misleads Government into crises because they intend to benefit from it. They are the ones who would work against peaceful engagement.
“On the part of students just like they have been advised, they should expect that changes and evolution in educational system management comes with material and non-material consequences. All sides must approach this issue with an open mind powered by objective scholarship.”
ASESI would continue to mediate to ensure a peaceful resolution and consensus in this matter. In the next few days, the leadership of ASESI led by its Executive Director, Chinonso Obasi, will be in Ebonyi State to meet with relevant stakeholders and the state Government with the hope of a speedy peaceful resolution of the matter so that EBSU can regain it’s natural rhythm.”